WORLD 20 killed, 111 injured in Philippines church bombing


20 killed, 111 injured in Philippines church bombing

By Zhao Yipu | People's Daily app

02:27, January 28, 2019


Police and soldiers stand outside the bomb-hit church in Jolo, Sulu Province, Philippines, January 27, 2019. (Photo: VCG)

Manila (People’s Daily) - The death toll in two explosions at a Roman Catholic church in Jolo, capital city of Sulu Province, Philippines early Sunday morning has reached at least 20, with 111 reported injured, said Sulu Police, Chief Graciano Mijares.

Two explosive devices were set off at the church, located in the Mindanao region. Witnesses said the first blast inside sent churchgoers rushing out of the main entrance. Wooden benches and glass fragments were scattered throughout.

About a minute later, after local emergency military police arrived, a second explosion occurred at the church’s front courtyard, causing more fatalities and injuries.

“The second one targeted nearby soldiers who rushed to help the victims of the first explosion,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.

After the bombing, the military blocked the main street leading to the church. Cellular signals were shut off in the hours following the attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for the church attack.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said, “The enemies of the state have boldly challenged the capability of the government to secure the safety of the citizenry in that region.

Panelo vowed the military will rise to the challenge and crush those responsible for the attack.

“We will pursue to the ends of the earth the ruthless perpetrators behind this dastardly crime until every killer is brought to justice and put behind bars. The law will give them no mercy,” Penelo said.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana condemned the bombing and said he has directed troops to "heighten their alert level" and secure places of worship and public spaces.

"As we convey our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and offer our sympathy to the peace-loving people of Sulu who are severely affected by this dastardly act, we assure our people that we will use the full force of the law to bring to justice the perpetrators behind this incident," Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana urged people to "remain calm and avoid spreading panic in our respective communities to deny terrorism any victory."

Philippine General Benjamin Madrigal called the attack a “treachery,” and said he had already ordered security forces “to pursue the criminals with the full force of the law.”

The archipelago province is located in Southwestern Philippines.

Jolo Island, with a population of 700,000, has had previous run-ins with Abu Sayyaf militants, who have declared loyalty to the Islamic State (IS). Abu Sayyaf members are blacklisted by the US and the Philippines and listed as a terrorist organization, after years of bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings.

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